Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The "What If" Game

So there's this game I play.  I don't really like it,  but I am quite good at it.  I'm sure you're familiar with it too. It is called the "What If" Game.

You never really volunteer to pay this game.  It just happens to you... and it is about as easy to end as Jumanji. Btw, if you have any tips for avoiding/minimizing this game,  I'm all ears.

Anyway,  I've been playing for as long as I can remember.  I don't play it every day or even every week or month necessarily.  It is completely unpredictable to figure out when it might start.  Normally I am just going about my day when the smallest thing can set the game in motion. Sometimes it isn't more than a harmless thought that then snowballs out of control. 

"What if" is a game of worst case senarios. And I am so good at it that I've brought myself to tears with my imagination and have to remind myself that the what if is not in fact reality.

So last night I played a nasty round of it after the alarm on James's monitor went off.  We bought one of those monitors that also has a motion sensor.  It is supposed to detect the slightest movements and is sensitive enough to tell that your baby is breathing.  And based on my testing of the unit, I believe it works the way it is meant to. Anyhow,  if baby goes 15 seconds completely motionless a little beep will sound on my end.  Another 5 seconds and a continuous beeping alarm will sound on my end and in the baby's room.

Well,  James has been sleeping in his crib for two and a half weeks now with no alarm. Last night it went off and of course I shot out of bed and ran across the hall.  It probably took me two terrifying seconds. The alarm in his room had sounded too and caused him to stir (and resume breathing). After my heart started beating again you can imagine the what ifs that ensued...

What if it hadn't woke him?
What if I had to do cpr?
What if I didn't do it right? 
What if the EMTs didn't show up in time?
What if it happens again?
What if it happens at daycare during a nap and nobody notices? 

I watched him breathe for the next ten minutes. Then I tried to go back to bed. But I kept playing that damn game and had to go check on him again. And of course I compulsively checked on him every minute of every nap throughout the day.

I realize there is the "what if it was a false alarm?" and I have two things to say about that: 1.) I don't think it was because I can't even trick that device into going off...I ran a multitude of my own tests when setting it up.  Placing my hand in different areas of the crib... moving it gently,  keeping it still.  I can't keep my hand still enough in the crib to set the thing off. Good for nothing piece of junk, I thought,  but then I can throw only a teddy bear in and it knows the difference and starts beeping almost immediately. Things have to be deadly still for the alarm to sound.  2.) I'll take a false alarm over no alarm any day.

Yeah, yeah... all this new technology... somehow babies survived before it.  Babies sometimes forget to breathe but the body's natural response is to want oxygen and breathe again.  That may be all fine and good and true, but some babies have not survived and I can't help but wonder "what if" they had that technology? 

So I'm embracing the new technology and don't care if people think I'm crazy for it...I swear I'd collapse into a pile of dust if that what if game ever became my reality because look at this face...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Postpartum Musings

I had one goal today.  No, make that two.  1.) Catch up on reading blogs and 2.) Write a post.  Oh, make that three...3.) Go to the grocery store. Oh...and I thought maybe I'd be able to work in some laundry folding, vacuuming, dishes, pick up a couple last-minute Christmas items, and do some gift wrapping.

Well, the day is nearly over and I haven't made it even halfway through that list.  But, I have this amazing little distraction now from my ever-growing list of to-do's.  So that's what I've been up to: loving my beautiful child and chipping away at a list that will never end.  And POOF.  10 weeks have flown by since James was born. 

For what it's worth, I did make it to the grocery store.  And I read quite a few blog posts...but not all that I wanted to.  And I'm attempting to write something now. So, there's that.

Unfortunately that's what this blog space has become to me. For now anyway.  Something on my to-do list.  I WANT to write.  I WANT to read.  But it has to fit somewhere in between meeting the needs of my precious distraction, keeping myself alive, and attempting to maintain my house and appearance at least a little bit.  And I haven't figured that out yet.

And I guess I've been okay with that in the fact that I am very, very happy (albeit anxious, which I'll get to later).  I am so happy to be completely consumed with momness right now.  But I do feel like I owe something to the blogosphere if I spend too long away from it.

Over the past ten weeks I can't tell you how many thoughts have crossed my mind that I said to myself, "I'll put that in a post."  I can't tell you how many because I can't kept track of anything, especially my abundant postpartum thoughts that range from "nobody-cares" to "get-that-woman-some-medication" to "sappy-mushy-baby lovefest" to "sort-of-comical."  I can tell you that the majority of the time it's a sappy-mushy-baby lovefest around here, but I'll try to recall some of the most memorable musings (mostly completely inconsequential) for you in an unorganized list.

1. I managed to avoid stretch marks on my stomach.  Whether that was genetics or my daily lotion regiment in the third trimester for my itchy tummy, I'm not sure.  But my boobs...not so lucky.  When my milk came in...I've never seen the likes!  Pam Anderson had nothing on me!  My poor tiny boobs just couldn't keep up.  I wish I'd taken a picture. Not for you...for my husband.  He missed them at their biggest and I think he thinks I'm exaggerating.  But the purple stretch marks should be proof, right?  Trust me.  They were freaky.

2. Speaking of boobs...the veins on my chest were and are like a road map to Nipple City.  Not sexy.

3. And while we're on the subject of what has happened to my body, my belly button looks like a haggard pit of despair.  The piercing did close up...insert sad face...but I'll probably get it pierced again when we finish having kids, if we are so lucky to be able to get pregnant again. 

4.  Yes.  I know I sound vain.  No.  I wouldn't trade my baby for anything.  No.  That doesn't mean I have to love my sad belly button and stretched-out boobs.

5.  15 minutes in the shower is equal to 2 hours of sleep.  This is especially true in the first few weeks post-baby.  If you can't find time to sleep, or are feeling very deprived...make taking a shower a priority.

6.  Either I was abnormal in the postpartum bleeding department, or the books I read beforehand made the aftermath of having a baby out to be way more of a nightmare than what actually took place.  Perhaps it's because I had a C-section??  Anyway, I thought I'd be bleeding heavily for at least a week or two and then bleeding more, but not as yuck for another 3 or 4 weeks.  I had purchased three packs of the heavy-duty-overnight-diaper pads in preparation for this flood of ick.  My heaviest bleeding was the couple days in the hospital and even that wasn't any worse than a period.  By the time I came home the pads I'd purchased were a joke.  I started wearing them to bed at night stuck to my bra because they were better suited for soaking up all the milk I was leaking.  I still have two and a half of the three packs I bought.  I think I was pretty much done bleeding in a couple weeks and completely done in three.

7.  Pad technology has come a long way since I was a teen.  I use tampons typically, so I had no idea.  There are super thin pads that are really absorbent!  They are sufficient for the job...there is no reason to wear something that feels like a diaper for more than a couple days unless you like that sort of thing.  

8.  Also...people said: beware the first postpartum poop!  Ummmm...again not so bad.  But maybe I am an exception.  Granted, I did get food poisoning on day 5 postpartum (and yes, baby did too via my milk...poor baby!), and that sort of helped things along.  But I've heard people say it's like giving birth all over again.  I don't know.  I didn't get to deliver vaginally, so I'm sure that makes it a bit more uncomfortable down there.  But I have heard others who have had C-sections tell woeful tales too.  I think the pain meds they want to give you are part of the problem...the hydrocodones.  Anyway, I didn't take much of that stuff...so maybe that's how I avoided that terror.

9. I think the amount of nostalgia I am and have been experiencing since right after James' birth is kind of unhealthy.  I am nostalgic about my pregnancy, I am nostalgic about my labor day, I am nostalgic about his birthday.  Nostalgia sets in every time I retire an outfit that he no longer fits in...or never even got to wear.  I feel guilty any time that I spend not looking at him because I feel like I am missing something.  Does this make me crazy?  I find myself wishing so hard that time would just slow down, dang it!  Or better yet, if I could just rewind a little and suspend ourselves in time....my tiny baby is not so tiny anymore.  In fact, he has more than doubled his birth weight!!  And even though I KNOW this is a good thing and that he is healthy and wonderful...I just want to go back and go slower! 

10.  I cringe thinking about going back to work.  I've had nightmares and the anxiety I mentioned earlier all has to do with work.  So I'm not even going to talk about it except to say that I have to go back on January 8th.  Boo.

11. My husband is still training.  And that is both wonderful and horrible.  He is loving his new career but missing us.  And we miss him terribly but are surviving just fine.  This week has been one of the hardest because he didn't get to come home last weekend.  But he does get a couple long weekends with Christmas and New Years coming up.  I've had some very emotional moments, but it has not been as hard as it originally felt like it was going to be.  And with as fast as time has been going by, he'll be home again before we know it.

12. My life has done a complete 180 from a year ago.  I was feeling so defeated.  So sad.  So consumed by the ugly stuff.  Now I am beyond blessed and have never been happier.  That's not to say that things aren't tough occasionally, but it's so much easier to handle the rain when you've got sunshine in your life....and when the rain isn't a constant downpour.  So, to those of you still out there in the torrential rain awaiting your miracle, I pray that 2015 is your year.  Keep on keeping on and know that you are in my thoughts.  I know it's hard.  I know it hurts.  It's not fair.  But I am here to tell you, someday your little miracle will mend the pieces of your broken heart and your heart will ache in an entirely new way that will make all the struggle worth it. 

I am sure there was more I was going to write about.  And in my head it was going to be much more thrilling for you to read, but I don't have it in me to be clever and I really don't remember. So, I'll leave you with some photos of the cutest baby ever (IMHO)... 

Brand New! (October)

So tiny! (October)

Very expressive from the get-go. (November)

Purposeful playing (Early December)

Angelic Sleeping (Always, but photo from December)

Adorable Smile (Always, but again December)